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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Notebook: Turnover bug returns

By Chris Forsberg

BOSTON -- Part of the reason that the Boston Celtics have played more consistent basketball in recent weeks has been better ball security after the team appeared to have eradicated an early season turnover bug. As Courtney Lee glumly put it after Wednesday's 107-106 loss to the Detroit Pistons, "They came back around."

The Celtics committed 18 turnovers on Wednesday night, their most giveaways since a Nov. 22 loss to the Indiana Pacers and fifth highest total of the season. More distressing for coach Brad Stevens was that the turnovers led to a whopping 30 points and helped visiting Detroit rally from a 21-point first-half deficit.

The Celtics turned the ball over 11 times for 19 points in the middle frames alone and were outscored 57-39 in that span. Kris Humphries had a team-high four turnovers, but six other players had multiple giveaways on the night.

"It looked like it was just contagious," said Avery Bradley. "Everybody turned it over a little bit."

Asked if turnovers were the team's biggest problem after Boston put up 42 first-quarter points and built a 19-point lead over the first 12 minutes, coach Brad Stevens said, "Clearly. Thirty points off turnovers is not going to do you much good."

The Celtics didn't commit a single turnover over the final 10 minutes of play, which helped them make a late rally despite trailing by as many as seven points. But the damage was done.

Why did the turnover issue return?

"I think we were just forcing the issue, myself included, and trying to make the play that wasn’t there instead of just taking the shot," said Jeff Green. "You learn from it."

Celtics' opponents average 17.5 points per game off turnovers, the 11th highest total in the league. Boston also ranks 26th in the league with a team turnover percentage of 16.9 percent, but has actually driven that number down from a rough start to the season.

The return of All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo in 2014 should aid much of Boston's ball-handling woes.

A few more notes from the Pistons' win at TD Garden: